Brightside by Bosa BlueSky heads to Public Hearing

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View looking west along 104 Avenue from King George Blvd

Surrey Council gave 1st & 2nd Readings on Monday night to Bosa BlueSky’s next project in Surrey City Centre – Brightside – which will now head to Public Hearing and 3rd Reading (Preliminary Approval) in 2 weeks. The project, which has been under application for the past 2 years, is set to transform the former Brick / Sears Outlet store site at City Parkway & 104 Avenue, which has been sitting vacant for numerous years now. Overall, the application is seeking:

  • A General Development Permit (Form & Character) for the entire site to allow for a phased, mixed-used development consisting of 3 high-rise and 2 low-rise buildings, including:
    • 40-Storey residential tower with ground floor retail (Phase 1)
    • 50-Storey mixed-use residential tower with ground floor retail and 17 floors of office in a stepped podium (Future Phase)
    • 50-Storey residential tower with market and rental units (Future Phase)
    • 2.5-Storey market-hall commercial building
    • 2-Storey amenity building
  • A Detailed Development Permit for phase 1 of the project.
  • OCP Amendment and City Centre Plan amendments to allow for up to 7.5 FAR (9.2 FAR net) density.
  • Rezoning
  • Consolidation from 2 existing lots to 2 new lots.
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View looking north along City Parkway from Surrey Central Station
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View from public and amenity space within interior of site looking south
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View looking east along 104 Avenue
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Future ‘Market-hall’ commercial building in centre of site as part of future phases.

Designed by Perkins & Will, the first phase of the project, a 40-Storey residential tower with ground-floor retail, is to be located at the corner of City Parkway and 104 Avenue and will include:

  • 418 Market Residential Units
  • 2,831 sq.ft. of ground floor Retail

The remaining buildings, subject to future Detailed Development Permit applications, will be located further east along 104 Avenue and north along 105 Avenue. The tallest of the towers, the 50-Storey mixed-use building with 17-Storey office podium, would become the new tallest in Surrey once complete, assuming no other building surpasses it by then, at 554 ft. (169m). The two future low-rise amenity, and market-hall buildings located in the centre of the site are to be set within a publicly accessible plaza that will invite people into the site from 104 Avenue. The plaza will be activated by retail and restaurant spaces at grade, as well as landscaping, and public art, subject to future detailed design.

In total once all phases are complete, the project will include:

  • 1,352 Residential Units (including 200 rental units)
  • 202,146 sq.ft. of Office
  • 37,049 sq.ft. of Retail

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In addition to the buildings on site, the project will also bring into alignment the intersection of City Parkway and 104 Avenue. The north and south portions of City Parkway on either side of 104 Avenue currently do not connect. This alignment is expected to be completed as part of the first phase, with tower 1 to be aligned on an angle with the newly constructed City Parkway.

Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed by 2025, with the remaining buildings to follow later in the decade. For more on the project:

https://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7918-0350-00.pdf

Transformative ‘Gateway’ Project proceeds to Public Hearing

A transformative ‘Gateway’ project at the north end of City Centre along King George Blvd at Bolivar Rd received 1st & 2nd Readings at Council on Monday, and will now proceed to Public Hearing on January 13. The project, which has been in the planning stages for nearly 5 years, initially appeared before Council back in April 2018, but was referred back to Staff to work with the applicant on refining the proposal, and to determine a ‘significant amenity contribution’ in exchange for increased density on the site. Since then, the project, designed by Vancouver’s MCM Architects has undergone significant design refinements to create an ‘iconic’ gateway development consisting of 1,040 units within:

  • 37-Storey Residential Tower above a 7-Storey podium
  • 31-Storey Residential Tower above a 6-Storey podium
  • 26-Storey Residential Tower above a 6-Storey podium
  • Two 6-Storey Low-Rise Residential Buildings
  • A 5,673 sq.ft. Childcare Facility
  • A small Cafe

Under the current application however, only the 26-Storey Residential Tower, Childcare Facility, Cafe, and a large ‘Orchard Plaza’ will be built as a first phase at the corner of King George Blvd and Bolivar Rd. The remainder of the development will be subject to future detailed Development Permit applications. The first phase tower will consist of 239 units, with the Childcare Facility and Cafe at its base. The large interior ‘Orchard Plaza’ design by Vancouver’s PWL Partnership Landscape Architects is intended to “celebrate connections to local agriculture” and will incorporate fruit trees within moveable planters, in addition to seating, an open lawn space, playground space, and an interactive stormwater capturing feature.

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View looking south on King George Blvd from Bolivar Rd
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View looking south along Barker St from Bolivar Rd
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View of interior ‘Orchard Plaza’ from Barker St
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Close-up view of interior ‘Orchard Plaza’ with interactive stormwater feature
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View of Cafe and plaza at corner of King George and Bolivar within Phase 1
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Public realm entry into interior of site from King George Blvd
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View looking north along King George Blvd of landscaped sidewalk and bike path
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Proposed Phasing Plan
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Landscape Site Plan

Overall, the proposal is proposing a blended density of 4.2 FAR on the site, which exceeds the currently permitted 2.5 FAR in that area of the City Centre Plan, intended for 4-6-Storey development. As a condition of allowing the increased density, the developer is offering a significant community amenity contribution above and beyond what is required, as well as providing a significant number of ‘family-sized units’ of 2-bedrooms or larger.

In addition to the development itself, significant upgrades will be made to surrounding streets including an expansive new landscaped sidewalk and separated bike path along King George Blvd, and new dedication and construction of Barker Street to the north.

For more on the application:

https://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/PLR_7917-0397-00.pdf

25-Storey ‘Central City II’ Office Tower heads to Council

The much anticipated ‘Central City II’ office tower will appear before Surrey Council on Monday for 1st & 2nd readings, as part of the first Council meeting since the summer break. Designed by ZGF Architects, the 25-storey (116.5m / 382 ft.) building will be the successor to the iconic Bing Thom designed ‘Central City I’, built in 2003, and bring much needed new office space to Surrey City Centre. Taking design cues from the original tower, while at the same time having its own distinctive architectural expression, the new building will be located just to the south-east of Central City I at the corner of King George Blvd and Old Yale Rd.

In all, the building is proposed to include:

  • 567,114 sq.ft. of AAA Office Space and Fitness Club on levels 2-25
  • 16,168 sq.ft. of ground-oriented retail, restaurant, and cafe space
  • Landscaped roof terraces on levels 3, 5, 10, 21, and 24
  • A new dedication of City Parkway
  • A new private east-west lane along the north side of the building connecting City Parkway to King George Blvd
  • Plazas and Separated Bike Lanes surrounding the building along King George Blvd, Old Yale Rd, and City Parkway
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View looking South along SkyTrain Guideway
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View Looking South-West along King George Blvd
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View looking North-West at corner of King George Blvd & Old Yale Rd
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South and East Elevations
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West and North Elevations

In terms of design, the building consists of a 25-storey tower with distinctive rust-toned metal panels, above a stepped podium, transitioning to different floor plates at levels 3, 5, 10, 21, and 24. The tower maintains a rounded rectangular form above the podium levels, before transitioning to an elliptical shape – similar to ‘Central City I’ at level 21. Above level 25, the vertical fins extend the curtain wall and frame an additional 2 storeys to conceal the rooftop mechanical equipment, and give the building a 27-storey appearance. The fins also provide space for signage, shown in renderings provided by ZGF, with the Central City logo, similar to the original tower. The bulk of the building’s massing is oriented towards King George Blvd and anchored to Old Yale Rd, creating a strong urban street wall and presence. The building tapers down towards the west, with its 4-storey podium extending to City Parkway, and the SkyTrain guideway.

The main entrance to the building will front onto a new public plaza along Old Yale Rd. This plaza will extend around the building on 3 sides, with retail, restaurant, and cafe space spilling out to activate frontages along City Parkway and King George Blvd. The south-west corner of the site at Old Yale Rd and City Parkway has been identified as a location for a future significant public art piece, subject to separate public art plan process.

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Ground floor Site Plan
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Landscaped outdoor terrace on Level 3
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Landscaped outdoor terrace on Level 5
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Landscaped outdoor terrace on Level 10
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Landscaped outdoor terrace on Level 21

Replacing the former Best Buy store at the corner of the existing mall parking lot, Central City II represents just phase 1 of a master redevelopment plan for the remainder of the Central City Shopping Centre site. More details of that plan will come through future development applications for subsequent phases. Earlier this year, the mall’s owner Blackwood Partners announced plans for a 1.5 storey addition to the existing parkade along University Drive which is expected to get underway in the coming months. Upon completion, this will allow for the closure of rooftop parking above parts of the existing mall along Old Yale Rd and eventual redevelopment of the site across from Holland Park.

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North Surrey Rec Centre to close for ‘Centre Block’ redevelopment

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A date has finally been set for the official closure of the North Surrey Recreation Centre to make way for the site’s long anticipated redevelopment. In a notice posted on the recreation centre website, the facility is planned to close in 2 phases beginning with a decommissioning of the ice rinks in early September, and finally a closure of the remaining portions of the building on December 22. Ice rink programming will move to the new North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, set to open on September 3 near Scott Road Station. Following that in January, Aquatics programs will move to Guildford Recreation Centre, fitness and multi-purpose activities to North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex, and preschool programs to Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre.

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New North Surrey Sport & Ice Complex

While no timeline has been given for the site’s redevelopment following decommissioning, behind-the-scenes planning work has been underway for years, dating back to 2012. Since then, the City has been working with Simon Fraser University, TransLink, and various architects, planners, and consultants, on a master plan for what is known as the ‘Centre Block’ bounded by Central Avenue to the north, 102 Avenue to the south, University Drive to the west, and City Parkway to the east. Well-positioned adjacent to Surrey Central SkyTrain Station, the site forms a key link between Surrey City Hall / Civic Plaza to the north, and the Central City Complex and beyond to the south.

Back in 2013, Via Architecture prepared a ‘vision’ for what redevelopment could look like in the future. The concept envisioned a numerous mixed-use buildings for the site integrated with a transit-oriented plaza linking City Hall to Central City. The buildings would contain office, university, and retail space. The plan also envisioned:

  • A new bus layover facility to be located on 133A St behind the new SFU Engineering building.
  • A removal and re-configuring of the Surrey Central Bus Exchange – replacing the loop with a new street-oriented exchange along a realigned 102A Avenue and Central Avenue. The 2 streets would be integrated with a new Transit Plaza, designed to accommodate high pedestrian and bus passenger volumes.
Centre Block location between Civic Plaza and Central City
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Early vision for the Centre Block prepared by Via Architecture in 2013

Since the early Via Architecture vision, a more recent planning process has been underway following a Surrey City Development Corp (SCDC) RFP was filled seeking a new firm to undertake detailed master planning work for the Centre Block site. While no plans have been publicly released yet, what is expected is a major overhaul of Surrey Central Station linked with a new transit-oriented plaza connecting Civic Plaza to Central City, and integrated with over 2 million square feet of new office, university, and retail space. With such a large scale, the plan is expected to be completed in phases, with various puzzle pieces and phasing needing to take place before other phases can begin. The first of those pieces is the decommissioning and demolition of the North Surrey Recreation Centre. The second will be the construction of the new bus layover facility on 133 Street, allowing for removal of the current Bus Loop, and re-alignment of 102A Avenue through it.

With the North Surrey Rec Centre decommissioning now in sight, the pieces are finally coming together to make the Centre Block redevelopment a reality. While the project is likely to take at least a decade to build-out, we could see the start of application activity related to it in the coming year.

For more on the North Surrey Recreation Centre closing:

https://www.surrey.ca/bylawsandcouncillibrary/CR_2019-R133.pdf

Concord Pacific an applicant in pair of submissions for towers on 105 Ave

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Two separate Development Applications have been submitted for a pair of projects between University Dr & City Parkway and 105 Ave & 105A Ave, just to the south of the BC Lions Training facility.

According to Surrey’s COSMOS, the application on the westerly block is to allow for 873 residential units (approximately 2 towers above podiums), while the application on the easterly block is to also allow for 2 towers above podiums with no unit count given. The applications are also proposing OCP and City Centre Plan amendments to re-designate the sites from 3.5 FAR to 5.5 FAR to allow for increased density. Interestingly, the applicant on the easterly site is listed as Concord Pacific – indicating a new venture for them in Surrey City Centre, to follow their existing ‘Park’ development near King George. The applicant on the westerly site is listed as IBI Group, although the applications could be related.

The subject sites have been vacant grassed lots for decades, and are bisected by the SkyTrain guideway between Surrey Central Station and Gateway Station. While the area may feel vacant now, just to the south across 105 Avenue, Bosa’s 28 & 37-storey University District towers are expected to begin construction within the next year. Also just to the north at City Parkway and 106 Avenue, Lark Group’s 20-story Legion Veteran’s Village project is now under construction.

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Site looking north-east from University Dr & 105 Ave
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Site looking south-east from University Dr & 105A Ave
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Site looking south from 105A Ave
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Site looking south-west from 105A Ave & City Parkway
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Site looking north from 105 Ave
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Site’s within City Centre Plan
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Birds-eye view of Sites

West Village Park & District Energy Centre Open

After nearly 2 years of construction, the new West Village Park and District Energy Centre officially opened last week in the rapidly growing West Village neighbourhood of City Centre. Located at the corner of Central Avenue & 133 Street, the new 0.7 Acre park was designed by Vancouver’s Space2Place Landscape Architects in conjunction with a community consultation process, and is one of 10 new parks planned for City Centre. The park includes a plaza, stage, green space, play area, benches, picnic tables, and a distinctive hexagon pattern of concrete, cork, and landscape beds. In addition to the park, a new segment of Central Avenue was opened, with a new sidewalk and dedicated bike lane (now standard on all newly constructed Collector and Arterial Roads in Surrey).

The main feature of the park is the new West Village Energy Centre, designed by Vancouver’s Francl Architecture, and complete with an art installation titled ‘Blankets’ on the building’s stacks. Operated by Surrey City Energy, the centre is the first of  3 District Energy Centres planned for City Centre, with the remaining two to be located near King George Station and Gateway Station in the future. These District Energy centres are intended to provide reliable, cost-competitive, and sustainable heat and hot water services to the City Centre’s growing high-density population. They work by distributing thermal energy, typically in the form of hot water through a network of closed-loop underground pipes to individual customer buildings. As new developments come on-line, they can connect to the District Energy System for their heating and hot water services.

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Plaza looking west from 133 St
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Looking East towards West Village Park greenspace
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West Village Energy south facade featuring art installation ‘Blankets’ on building stacks
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Looking East on Central Avenue
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Looking East into interior of West Village Energy Centre
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Newly constructed Central Avenue half-road
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Looking west into interior of West Village Energy Centre
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West Village Energy Centre entrance
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Greenspace and picnic area
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Greenspace, plaza, and seating area
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Greenspace and seating area